Target: Mayor of Austin, Texas, Lee Leffingwell
Goal: Applaud city for passing a resolution that will make solar its main energy resource
Recently, the Austin City Council passed a resolution that will dramatically increase the city’s solar power, a move that is expected to make Texas a new leader in renewable energy. The landmark decision was inspired by Austin’s climate goals, the city’s desire to avoid natural gas prices, and broad economic considerations. The plan requires Austin Energy to generate 60 percent of its electricity from renewables over the next 10 years, with a further goal to become totally carbon-free by 2030. The municipal utility must build 600 megawatts of solar power by 2017, and support an additional 200 megawatts of distributed solar on rooftops. The total increase of 800 megawatts is equivalent to about four times the installed capacity for all of Texas.
The new law received significant support because, this time, the case for using renewables was based on economics rather than on solely environmental concerns. Austin Energy came to a fantastic price agreement (five cents per kilowatt-hour) with the solar developer Recurrent Energy, which prompted the city council to seriously consider the potential of solar to save on power costs.
Energy experts, financial analysts, and businesspeople were all involved in the goal-setting process, concluding together that solar energy should be the new default generation resource for the city because it is the most economically viable choice. The change will also be beneficial for consumers who, according to a cost analysis by Public Citizen, could save millions of dollars annually from the solar plan in comparison to building a new natural gas plant. Not only is a future in solar environmentally friendly, it is also far more fiscally sound than continuing to rely on oil and natural gas.
Councilman Chris Riley wrote the resolution, which received enthusiastic support from environmentalists and experts. The energy plan promises tremendous environmental and economic progress. Austin is leading by example as it joins other top solar producers in the necessary transition toward renewables as default energy resources. Sign the petition below to applaud Austin’s victory for solar power.
Dear Mayor Leffingwell,
I am writing to commend the Austin City Council for passing the recent resolution intended to make solar power a default generation resource. The plan’s ambitious changes—60 percent of energy from renewables over the next decade, an increase of 800 megawatts of solar citywide, and carbon independence by 2030—will be revolutionary both for the environment and for the economy. Solar is a renewable resource that offers price competition to oil companies, a solution to closing coal plants, and an alternative to the burden of erratic natural gas costs.
It is important that the United States transition to clean energy as quickly as possible. The new deal will make Austin one of the foremost producers of solar, setting the stage for future positive growth both in Texas and the rest of the nation. I applaud the City of Austin for this tremendous progress and the countless hours of research, discussion and planning put forth to make it possible. Thank you for making such a wise choice for the economy, the public, and the natural world.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USAF via Wikimedia Commons